Basenji Dog and Manx Cat

Our dog of the week is the “ever smiling” Baseniji.

This is really a rascal of a dog that is very intelligent, catlike in some behaviors, quiet, self motivated and is a little casual about obedience.

Now, if that has piqued your curiosity and you want to learn more, read on.

The Baseniji originated in the Belgian Congo (now known as Zaire.)

They have also been depicted sitting at the feet of their master in Egyptian tombs, so that shows that they are a very ancient breed.

Some sources say they were never mixed with other breeds from Europe or Asia and that is why they are somewhat different and others say the Baseniji was a “forever African dog.”

People had tried to bring the dog over to England for many years in days gone by, with no luck in having them survive.

It was not until the 1930’s that a strong enough strain was produced that the breed began to flourish in England and eventually here in the United States.

In 1943 the AKC recognized the breed and put it in the hound class, though many people consider the breed to be in the “sight hound class.”

The Baseniji is a true hunting dog and was used in days gone by in Africa, to flush small prey and birds into the native hunters’ nets. They were also valued for their ability to keep the villages free from river rats.

The Baseniji is an elegant, short haired, moderate sized dog that really does not bark.

Instead of barking they are known to whine, growl or do a howl that sounds similar to a “yodel.” I have read that if they get lonesome and bored they can really “yodel” and you will wish they could bark.

Personality wise they are very interesting.

They are very smart high energy dogs, that have a hunting instinct that needs to be kept in check.

They cannot be allowed to “roam free,” a fenced-in-yard is necessary, how high a fence is debatable. Beseniji’s are climbers and have been known to climb high chain link fences to get to the other side.

Another interesting thing is, they are “straight up” jumpers, almost human in the fact that they can jump straight up.

They are cat-like in the way they keep themselves clean. Baseniji’s wash themselves and even use their paws like a cat does.

They do not like water, but will play in the rain if there is something outside that has their interest.

A Baseniji is easily distracted and obedience training can be a chore. Patience is the first requirement on your part along with a pocket full of treats. This is a strong willed dog and force or punishment will not get you anywhere, a kind hand filled with treats will do wonders.

The Baseniji is okay with well mannered children (I would not recommend babies or toddlers) as they need to be treated with respect.

If a Baseniji is raised with small animals such as a cat or small dog for the most part they are fine, if you have a bird that is allowed loose, that can be dangerous.

It is hard to remember that these are hunting dogs, when they do not look like any hunting dog we are familiar with.

Health wise there a few things to look out for and you should question your breeder on these important points. Make certain the parents have been certified free of hip dysplasia, and eye problems, ask if the puppies have been checked for Pupillary membrane (a problem that can cause vision problems or blindness) and that the parents are checked monthly for Fanconi syndrome (a kidney problem.)

This really is a great dog and will adapt nicely to a family environment. The best family is one that has a great sense of humor (you will need to laugh at the mischief,) a great deal of patience, can appreciate high energy and most importantly has time to spend with this delightful critter.

This Baseniji does not like to be alone for any length of time.

The Manx Cat

Our dog of the week has cat like behaviors and now our cat of the week has dog like behaviors.

Interestingly enough, I did not know that about either of them until I did my research.

The tail-less Manx cat is said to have originated on the Isle of Man going back 200 to 300 years ago. However, there are several other legends that have surfaced regarding this cat.

One such legend is that that Noah shut the door on the two cats as they were coming into the Ark and cut off their tails and another story is that a long time ago cat and a rabbit mated and the Manx is a result of the union.

Either story is a good explanation of why they have no tails.

Medically it is said that the short tail or no tail is a natural occurring mutation of the spine. This mutation shortens the tail from shorter to tailless.

The other reason that the rabbit got blamed, is that a Manx’s back legs are longer than their front legs and when they run, they look rather like hopping rabbits than a cat running.

The Manx cat is a rather “round looking” cat that weighs in the neighborhood of 12 pounds, it has a round body, round head and round eyes.

The Manx is an unusual cat, it has a good personality, it loves people, but yet, is not a clingy cat, it likes water, it is loyal, it will play “fetch” like a dog and can be taught simple commands.

It appears to understand every word you say (my kind of cat) and is interested in everything you do.

The breed has been known for their “mousing ability.”

They worked hard catching rodents on the cold and rainy Isle of Man.

They were brought over to this country during the 1800’s to catch the mice and rats on the settler’s farms and they worked their way west to help reduce the rat population as the railroads were being built.

They are working cats with even personalities.

The Manx has a cousin that is called the Cymric, this cat is very much like the Manx, except it has longer hair. The hair is not as long as a Persians, it is just longer than a Manx.

The fur is quite dense and thick and is really not much more trouble to care for than a short haired cat.

If you are looking for a good family cat that likes children and other pets, is not hyper active, loves people and likes to play chasing things on the ground the Manx is for you.

When talking to a breeder be certain to tell the breeder what type of household you have.

As some Manx cats are more active and playful than others and some are shyer and quiet, the breeder, by knowing how you live, will be certain to give you the “cat that fits your lifestyle.”